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jzarley

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  1. I’ve been meaning to catch an Orlando Solar Bears game myself, but have just never gotten around to it. I’m glad to hear you found it a fun time. I used to love the minor league Columbus Chill games at the (awful) old fairgrounds arena—it was small and cheap and a very good time. I like Blue Jackets games too…but they don’t have that old feel of the Chill games.
  2. I worked with Joel Manby when he was CEO at SeaWorld (we bonded over sharing the same first name ). Joel is a pretty good guy himself—one of the best CEOs I’ve ever worked for.
  3. Herschend is also not a public company, which really impacts how a board has to approach things like ROIC, revenue and cost structures. Look at the difference between BEC and the standalone (and public) SeaWorld/Busch parks.
  4. I never realized that either! I always have the watch face up against the reader instead of to the side like tr0y has it in the video. I’ve always heard the sound but never realized it was doing an animation too :-)
  5. I haven’t heard of an actual NDA per say, but it’s not unusual for there to be some sort of separation agreement in place—especially if there’s some sort of stock equity, vested LTI or other separation payment involved. For example, when I left SeaWorld I had a one year non-compete (meaning I could work for no one that SEAS considered a core competitor for a year after leaving—which was pretty much every theme park company) and a 2-year non-solicitation (meaning I wouldn’t recruit ay of their employees) and non-disparagement agreement. I honored all of those. I didn’t work for the next theme park company until six weeks or so after my one-year expired, and I’ve never had a reason to disparage the company—I still like and respect the people I worked with there.
  6. Is it SF owned/developed or is it owned by a 3rd party that is licensing the Six Flags name? The new SeaWorld “park” (most of it is indoors) in Abu Dhabi is like that—a third party built, owns and operates it, but SEAS licensed their brand and provided consulting during development. If that’s the same scenario in Qiddiya there’s probably no reason for it not to move forward with the merger
  7. I think it is really difficult now to keep a kids’ area that is relevant and constantly popular today. There are so many sources of content that the current “big thing” is frequently changing. Right now I think Bluey is the in thing for the preschool demo (unless he’s been replaced by something newer now too), a few years ago it was Peppa Pig, before that something else. The earlier IP (HB, Looney Tunes, etc.) was able to stay relevant a lot longer because there weren’t limitless replacements from hundreds of sources constantly in the pipeline. I’m not sure how the DC IP agreement with Six Flags is structured, but typically these IP agreements are not “blanket” (meaning you can’t use the IP as much as you want, anyway you want)—instead it’s typically by individual use case. If that’s the case here, would it make financial sense to convert The Bat to Batman if there’s an incremental IP cost (plus the capital cost of converting the ride) involved? I’m not sure the cost of a change like that would result in a revenue boost that would justify it (especially once people realized “oh, it’s still just Top Gun” ;-))
  8. Only when the traffic in LA is *REALLY* good :-)
  9. Personally, I think the SEAS offer to acquire Cedar Fair in 2022 would have been a better overall fit for everyone (culturally and otherwise). But, then again—I’m partial to SEAS, so maybe I’m a bit biased. If the SIX/FUN “merger” (I’m assuming SIX is actually the acquirer again) happens this time it will interesting to see how things shake out. It’s not unusual for a merger like this to result in some properties put on the market (to help offset the debt taken on for the acquisition. Both SEAS and Merlin have expressed interest in expanding their North American presence if the right parks would become available, so I could see some park “flag shuffling” (pun kind of intended) going forward.
  10. I’ve also wondered about The Interpreter and ItalianChef as well. Both were just prolific posters so long ago, but during one of my long hiatuses from the site I lost track of them.
  11. Yeah, and that’s a long & complicated story. Having worked at SEAS corporate during the tail end of the Blackfish negativity and the beginning of the turnaround, I can say that it was a challenging environment on the inside. (Interestingly, the turnaround was just as complicated—but for entirely different reasons.). I’ve long thought that the situation was worsened by compounding events—the spinoff from AB and the explosion of social media. I really think if AB would have still owned SeaWorld during the Blackfish controversy, the response would have been handled very differently, but the company had just spun off and for the first time was a stand-alone corporation. I also think on the inside there was this incredulousness that anyone could ever believe that SeaWorld would ever do anything that harmed animals—it was such an anathema to the DNA of the organization that they just couldn’t accept that anyone would ever believe it. Of course, that was an incorrect assumption…
  12. I guess in some ways that experimentation between SEAS and B&M goes all the way back to the early 90s and Kumba
  13. A few weeks ago I got to do an early CM “play testing” of the new Moana Journey of Water attraction at Epcot, but any sharing of photos was under embargo until a few days ago. It’s a cool attraction—very lush and pretty with a lot of interactive elements and some “edutainment” about the role of water in the world. I think it will be a good recharge spot for guests wanting a break from the hub bub of a day in the theme park, and of course water elements are always welcome in Florida! I was surprised at how much fun we had with the interactive water elements—it’s not something I’d normally think I’d find that engaging, but it really was. Everyone (of all ages) seemed to be having a lot of fun with it.
  14. I’m making no commentary on the KI communications staff, because honestly I have no basis to form an opinion. But, when talking about park communications, do you know who I think does it *really* well? Holiday World! The local CBS affiliate station in Orlando ran a story (with animation) about the new “Good Gravy” coaster yesterday morning—it ran for a couple of minutes and invoked commentary from the whole news team. (Granted, they were laughing a bit about the silliness, but still…). And, this was in Orlando—arguably the theme park capital of the world and the local media is talking about a new coaster at a little park in Indiana! That little park and the people that run it have always impressed the hell out of me! :-)
  15. I think it’s also important to remember that while CF’s numbers are definitely troubling, there still seems to be larger macro forces in play on the industry as a whole. Orange County’s tourism tax revenue has seen consecutive declines over the past three months, and hotel occupancy gives a very clear view into park attendance in Orlando: https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/orange-countys-tourism-tax-collections-down-for-3-months-in-a-row I work for a theme park company (although, not currently in a park division) and I’ve worked for two previous ones prior to my current company—all three of those companies are struggling with attendance right now. BoddaH1994 makes an excellent point about CF’s amount of leveraged debt and the stress that is putting on the balance sheet. It’s been a lurking issue for them ever since the $1.24B acquisition of Paramount Parks, but when combined with the significant lost revenue from the COVID year(s), it raises the concern significantly.
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